Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Favorites

Linking up with Andrea, Erika, and Narci for Friday favorites

#1 My BFF

First off, it's my best friend's birthday today - she is definitely one of my favorites!  
Happy Birthday, Erin!

We have no recent photos together - boo!  Here is one from freshman year of college (taken 16 years ago!) - Erin is top row, maroon shirt! 

And here's one from my wedding where she was my matron of honor (this one is only 9 years old ;))

#2 Flowers

I love have fresh flowers around the house.  In Edinburgh, fresh flowers seemed to be so inexpensive (probably because of the conversion rate and my stellar math skills).  I especially loved when the daffodils were in bloom and, I could walk to Tesco and buy a bunch for a mere 1 GBP.

My dad works for a wholesale floral company, so we're never lacking flowers. I love flowers as long as they aren't high maintenance (read: I will enjoy them until they die, but I will not tend to them so that they last longer - it kills the enjoyment of them because that is work).

#3 My Slow Cooker

Since we moved from Edinburgh in 2014, I've been out of a cooking rhythm and my slow cooker has been majorly underused. The last two weeks I've made:

Slow Cooker Pot Roast
What you'll need:
red wine to taste (maybe a 1/2 cup)
1 can beef broth
1 can of smooth cranberry sauce
onion soup mix
Pot Roast meat
3 potatoes diced (I used Idaho because that's what I had)
1 medium yellow onion
small bag of baby carrots
1. Pour broth, cranberry sauce, and wine into slow cooker and which till fairly combined  
2. Add 1/3 of the onion to broth
3. Put in roast and sprinkle soup mix over it
4. Add the rest of the vegetables
5. Add more liquid (water, broth, wine etc) if it looks like it needs it
6. Cook on high for 4 -6 hours or low for 8-10 hours

Delicious one dish meal!

Cilantro Lime Chicken
adapted from October Morning Blog
What you'll need:
4 chicken breasts
4 limes
a bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small bag of frozen corn
1/2 red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves minced
2 tsp cumin
garlic salt
1. Place chicken in slow cooker and sprinkle a little garlic salt and cumin.  
2. Squeeze two limes over chicken
3. Add minced garlic, beans, cilantro, corn, onion. 
4. Stir slightly without disturbing the chicken and squeeze third lime over the mixture
5. I added water so that it was covering the bottom of my slow cooker
6. Cook on high for 4 -6 hours or low for 8-10 hours

After it was done cooking, I shredded the chicken inside the slow cooker and served it in a tortilla with an extra lime on the side.  Taylor added hot sauce to his and my salsa would also go well on it.  You could also serve it over rice.

Now that Taylor is teaching a class once a week during dinnertime, I will definitely be using my slow cooker more often!  Which leads to my next favorite...

#4 My favorite professor

So proud of this guy - his students are going to love him!

#5 My little ballerina

All this little girl wanted for Christmas was ballet clothes!  She started her very first ballet class this semester, and she is loving it.  How cute is she?!  Love this sweet girl!

#6 My Kindle Paperwhite

I had a Kindle Fire that died recently and got a Paperwhite for my birthday last month and I LOVE it.  I used my Fire some, but I'm using my Paperwhite all of the time.  I'm not sure if it's the size or the fact that I don't feel like I'm looking at a screen, but did I mention I love it?  I've always been a book girl - definitely prefer to hold a book in my hand and be able to flip back and forth easily, but my Kindle is so convenient.  The Amazon monthly book deals are fun too though the last book I got through this was a FLOP.  I'll review it for my February Goals post at the beginning of next month.

#7 Lush "Perfect Roll Tab Sleeve Tunic

Sheaffer got me onto this shirt a month ago when she named it a must have, and I love it.  I'm always looking for long tunic shirts to wear with jeans or leggings and at this sale price, it was a no brainer.  I got it in tawny port and ivory - the ivory is pretty sheer but looks fine with a tank under it - not sure that I'm going to keep it though.  Nordstrom is so easy to shop online with their shipping and free returns!


Last but certainly not least is the Houston Church Planting Network.  This is a movement to unite churches to saturate the city, to collaborate with one another not compete for "our" turf, and to multiply so that there are Gospel centered churches in every community.  Houston is growing at an incredible rate and although we have a large number of healthy evangelical churches already present in the city, planting churches is necessary to keep up with our current population growth!  Pastor, Tim Keller, says this about church planting:

"The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for
1) the numerical growth of the Body of Christ in any city, and 2) the continual corporate renewal
and revival of the existing churches in a city. Nothing else--not crusades, outreach programs,
para-church ministries, growing mega-churches, congregational consulting, nor church
renewal processes--will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting. This
is an eyebrow raising statement. But to those who have done any study at all, it is not even

controversial. "

We recently were invited to Neartown Church's vision and birthday dinner. Russell Cravens, Neartown's lead pastor invited us along with Roswell Smith, the pastor of The Church at UH, and Sergio Garcia from Kerusso Grace Church.  It has been such a blessing to make connections, share resources, and be a part of each other's ministries thanks in large part to HCPN.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

{Show and Tell Tuesdays} Winning Your Heart

Linking up with Andrea today for Show and Tell Tuesday: Winning Your Heart

Andrea wanted to pick a love-y theme for February, but I have to say this topic makes me cringe a little :) - I am just not sappy. Maybe even to a fault.  I can remembering exiting the movie theater after seeing "Ever After" with my high school best friend, Kathryn.  She looked dreamily at me and said, "I can't wait for my knight in shining armor to come sweep me away on his white horse!" And I was like, "What?  Ewww - if my boyfriend tries to propose with any sort of horse, I'll say no!"

Don't get me wrong, I loved the movie, wanted to fall in love and all of that, but felt silly about being rescued on a horse, or won over in a dramatic way.  I wasn't an outward romantic to say the least. Since I missed last year's Show and Tell Tuesday about how Taylor and I ended up together, here's that story instead...

If I could tell my fourteen year old self that ten years later I would marry Taylor Ince, I'd have died right there on the spot.  We attended the same school, but he was big man on campus: senior, Student Body President, star of the musical, State Championship basketball team starter. I mean the 8th grade girls at our school had a Taylor Ince fan club for goodness sake, and his little brother, who was in the 6th grade at the time, capitalized on this by selling his hunky big brother's school picture around the middle school (our school was K-12).

State Championship Basketball Team (Taylor's standing on the far left)
Taylor's senior picture
photo credit: Cindy Crofford

I on the other hand was a lowly freshman.  I knew who Taylor was (everyone did), but he had no idea I existed.  And to be honest, I was perfectly ok with that.  I wasn't the kind of girl who chased boys or who was even interested as a freshman to date a senior (not to mention my parents wouldn't have let me anyway!).  I had the best freshman year: I was a cheerleader, played basketball, had great friends, and was perfectly content admiring Taylor from afar when I watched the school musical, and when I got pulled up to varsity during basketball playoffs and ate in the same restaurant as the boy's team.  That was about the extent of our time together in high school.

I am in the crease (left base of the right stunt) - lame picture, I know, but most of my old photos are in our attic!

Me and Kathryn circa 1999

The funny thing is our moms were in a prayer group together, our brothers being one school year apart knew each other, and our future brother-in-law was my Sunday school teacher.

Taylor went off to Wake Forest, and I eventually went to Texas A&M, and the weirdest thing was people were always filling me in on what Taylor Ince was up to.  This was completely unsolicited, and I remember thinking, Why are you telling me about Taylor Ince?  I don't even know him!  We were from a small community where everyone knew everyone else's business, and apparently I needed to know Taylor's - haha!  After I graduated from A&M, I embarked on my first year of teaching babysitting in a rough school, unexpectedly lost a cousin I was close with, broke up with my long-term college boyfriend, and pretty much lamented life after college.  I needed a change.  My high school Bible teacher, Hurley, had just been given the position over the youth ministry at the church I grew up in and interned for during college summers, and Richmond, a friend who interned with me, had just been hired as the high school pastor, so I called them up and asked for a job. They hired me immediately, and I was set to start the day after school got out in May.

Simultaneously, Taylor was going through some big life changes too: he started his first year of law school, proposed to his long-term girlfriend, broke it off a month later, quit law school after finally surrendering to the call to ministry, applied to seminaries all over the country, and called up his former Bible teacher, Hurley, and good friend, Richmond, from his graduating class of high school (like I said, small community) for a job.  He was also hired immediately.  Taylor's best friend from high school, Brandon, also got a job there, and once word got out, everyone was asking me if I was excited to be working with them. And I was like, how shallow do you think I am? I don't even know them! :)

But secretly, I might have been a little excited.

I can remember the first time Taylor and I officially met and thankfully unlike high school, he remembered me. I interrupted a meeting the youth staff was having. I had come straight from school to finish up some new hire paperwork, and Hurley called me into his office to meet everyone.  It was brief, but according to Taylor after I left he was thinking, so that's the Robin I've been hearing about. Our next encounter cracks me up.  Our staff was meeting on the playground for some youth event.  Taylor was wearing a polo shirt, khaki shorts, and loafers with no socks (he probably would have had a sweater tied around his neck too had it not been May in Houston and 100 degrees outside).  I was wearing a graphic t that said, "I like green eggs and ham, " khaki boys cargo shorts, and rainbows (I was angst-y from my slam dunk into the real world - haha).  At this point, we were both thinking, who is this guy/girl?

Soon after that he, he began his pursuit.  He was asking his brother-in-law about me, buying me end of the school year presents, watching Star Wars episodes 1,2 and 4-6 to prepare for Episode 3 (which was about to come out in theaters) with our staff at Richmond's condo, playing a lot of ultimate frisbee, floating the Guadalupe River, bowling weekly - pretty much whatever you would typically do all summer with a youth group.  It was the best way to get to know someone well without the pressure of dating.  He left presents on my doorstep with poems he'd written for me, asked me on an official date to a friend's wedding (his mom totally tried to talk him out of this, you're moving to Charlotte for seminary for the next 3 years - what are you thinking?!, and at the end of the summer, he skipped his Summer Greek course so he could stay in Houston for 3 more weeks.  We dated long distance that school year, in April he proposed, and in September we were married.  It was a whirlwind, but when you know, you know.

These are pictures of our staff from that summer - don't miss the awkward photo of Taylor and me together - I'm pretty sure this was the first picture taken of just the two of us.  It always makes us roll with laughter!  We're on Lake Travis about to cliff jump.  Our friends down in the boat were trying to embarrass us by asking for a picture...

At our engagement breakfast, my dad, who met Taylor before I did, revealed to us that the day they met, he told my mom, "I met the guy Robin is going to marry."

Back at Lake Travis - this time getting engaged!

The Lord used many things about our courtship to shape our future.  The fact that Taylor skipped Summer Greek for me meant that he started with Hebrew unlike most freshman seminarians who begin with Greek; this gave Taylor the ability to take more Hebrew electives, be the TA for the Hebrew professor on campus, and ultimately get his PhD in Hebrew and Old Testament. Life has been an adventure!

Taylor continues to win my heart daily by:
1. Waking me up after my coffee is ready each morning
2. Being ready for adventure at all times
3. Loving our God and our family well

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

January Goals

Here's an update on how I did with my goals this month to help keep me accountable!

#1 Blog regularly:

I don't think twice a month constitutes regularly, but it's better than 2015, so we'll call that a win.

{Show and Tell Tuesdays} Reintroductions and Resolutions
{Show and Tell Tuesdays} Momfessional Moments

#2 Take more pictures and keep them organized:

This goal needs to be amended as my computer is broken and won't open my iPhone when I open iPhoto and to boot, my phone died last Wednesday (this is why I am not responding to your calls and texts :)).  So maybe my goal should be to get my phone fixed (if that's even possible!) and get my computer back from the shop (they've had it for over a month!).  I'll check back in about this next month.

#3 Read two books a month:

Check!  I love to read and thanks to getting a Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday last month this was easily completed.  I wish I could say my books were more impressive and cerebral, but they're not!

First I re-read one of my favorite book from about 10 years ago:


The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot (Author of the Princess Diaries though this book isn't YA lit)

This is a quick and clever read - the whole book is written through email exchanges.  The pop culture references definitely date the book, but I enjoyed re-reading it, and I'm not big on re-reading books.

My second book I found after seeing the author recommended during Shay's Monthly Book Reviews last year.

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

I bought this immediately after I got my new Kindle because it was only $1.99 - no brainer!  Plus, I liked another novel by Moriarty, The Husband's Secret, that my mom lent me months back.  I finished both of Moriarty's books in a few days - they are mysteries that have lots of unexpected twists and turns.  I love trying to solve the mystery before it's resolved in the book.

I'm currently halfway through reading a book Shay reviewed last month, but I do not like it AT ALL so far...we'll see next month how the review goes.  I get most of my book recs from her comment section on these monthly posts, but if you have any great recs,  please leave a comment!  I need some good non-fiction ideas too.

#4 Exercise regularly

Today I am writing this post from the comfort of my home

...instead of going to the gym. (And yes that is a Krispy Kreme doughnut - my mom-in-law brought it by when she picked up Susannah, "the hot light was on, so I figured I had to stop!" :) )

I did join a gym and participated in one class and have used the track and elliptical machine a few times, but my exercise has been more random than regular. 

#5 Go to bed earlier

See goal #3 - I'm a night owl and with 3 kids and a church plant budding, there isn't a lot of extra free time, so on nights that we're not scheduled (read: two nights a week if I'm lucky - Tuesdays are sacred - don't plan a party or invite us over on a Tuesday, we won't come!), I watch netflix and/or read. So going to bed early hasn't happened thanks to my Kindle and this...

Taylor and I have never owned a TV since we've been married, so that coupled with living in Britain for almost half a decade, we're not up to speed with American TV.  I just started season one of Suits this month and I'm hooked!

#6 Develop weekly sermon guide for kids in Worship

For now, I am developing all of the system ins and outs with some other ladies on our core team for all of our Sojourn Kids stuff - the sermon guides will come this summer!

Here are my February Goals:

See you tomorrow for Show and Tell Tuesday!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

{Show and Tell Tuesdays} Momfessionals

OK so a week and a day behind on Show and Tell Tuesday, and so far, not doing so great on my goals which actually fits with the "momfessional" theme quite nicely...obviously I planned that and it has nothing to do with my procrastination skills...

Momfessional #1:

Yeah those are my Christmas New Year Valentines Day?? cards - pathetic.  I do this every year that I don't love our family picture for the card. I am always way on top of ordering them (got them in the mail on Nov 28th to be exact) and then never got around to mailing them.  I procrastinate on anything that has to do with the post office (well any governmental office to be exact).  Case and point...

Momfessional #2:

Last year my wallet got stolen with my social security card and 2 of our kids' cards too. It took me 11.5 months to take care of it. I hate doing things that waste my time and governmental offices seem to have a knack for that.  My sister-in-law had to go to get her Chinese daughter's card, so Susu and I tagged along.  And to be fair, it was easy, super easy (scarily easy in fact), and the nice lady who helped me didn't even comment on how long it had been since they had been stolen.

Momfessional #3:

I don't enjoy bathing my kids - we were great about bathing them every night as part of the bedtime routine in Scotland when the older two were little, and then when we lived at my parents' house last year, but now that we're in our house, we shoot for...well let's just say every night is a pipe dream��. In my defense, we don't have a bathtub and the kids aren't huge fans of the shower.  On the upside, we do have a pool - that totally counts, right?

Momfessional #4:

If we have homemade dessert in our house, it's fair game for breakfast.

{Pink Champagne Bundt Cake}
{Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake}

Momfessional #5:

I totally wrote this post in the locker room of my office gym instead of working out while my kids were in the nursery.

I'm going to try really hard to be on time for next week's Show and Tell Tuesday!

Here's the link to my last Show and Tell Tuesday if you missed it!
{Show and Tell Tuesdays} Reintroductions and Resolutions

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

{Show and Tell Tuesdays} Reintroductions and Resolutions

I'm baaaaaaaaaccccccccckkkkkkkk!

OK, so it's been 2 years since I've blogged - shameful I know, but I've been busy with things like moving overseas, having 2 babies, supporting my husband as he finishes his PhD and starts a new job, planting a church, buying our first house...just to name a few.  The last 2 years in review are at the bottom of this post if you want more details!

I'm going to try and blog more regularly by linking up with Andrea for her Show and Tell Tuesday posts.

Here goes...

Hi, I'm Robin.

I've been married to this handsome guy for almost 10 years.

I'm Mom of these crazies:
Seth, 5Avery, 3; Susannah, 15 mos, 
and two in Heaven: Tristan and William.

We've had our share of sufferingadventurebaking mishapsembarrassment, and culture shock.

If you're new to the blog at the very least read my most embarrassing moment.  I'm pretty sure that it tops's a little teaser: it happened in front of THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND.

 I'm a former ex-pat and cut my teeth on parenthood thousands of miles away from our American culture and our families back in Texas.  We raised our kids in Edinburgh, Scotland while Taylor completed his dissertation at the University of Edinburgh (New College) in Old Testament and Hebrew.  We also each worked part-time for the ministry, Friends International.  Because of our stint there (we lived in university family housing), we made lifelong friendships that span the globe - from Iran to Ireland; Chile to China - we have A LOT of traveling to do. :) Living amongst these amazing people has given us a heart for the nations, and we're thrilled that the Lord has called us to the most diverse part of Houston.

I'm currently a church planter/pastor's wife and most importantly, lover of Jesus.

This year, I am resolving to blog regularly, take more pictures and keep them organized, read 2 books a month, exercise regularly, go to bed earlier, and develop weekly sermon guides for our youngest church family members when they begin to attend "big church".

For those who have missed us.  Here are the last 2 years in review (my last post left off in February 2014):

In March 2014, we celebrated Avery's 2nd Birthday.

We flew Stateside in April - July of 2014 for a few events:

Aunt Kaitlyn cheering for Team USA at the World Championships - they won 1st place!

Enjoying the happiest place on Earth

Participating in Uncle Nate and Aunt Ana's wedding

Resting and relaxing at Tutu and Papa's house

Baking at Mia and Popsie's

Celebrating this guy's 4th Birthday in June

Accepting a new job with Houston Church Planting Residency in July

...and a few days later, we headed home to Edinburgh to pack up four years of life for our little family to move back to Houston and start a new chapter.

In August, 9 months preggo with Susannah, the kids and I left Edinburgh and said good bye to these wonderful friends and flew home to Houston.  Taylor joined us a few weeks later after finishing up some research at Cambridge.

In September, Seth and Avery began preschool

Two weeks later, Susannah was born

My parents endured hosting us for the school year while we prayed and waited for the Lord to show us what area of Houston he'd have us plant in. (Apparently, we only took pictures when my siblings came to visit!)

Taylor submitted his dissertation in November!

We enjoyed our first Christmas as a family of 5!

In January 2015, the Lord gave us a calling to the Galleria area and our core team for Sojourn Galleria was born! Y'all!  We are beyond grateful for these faithful people!

We met weekly to pray for our fledgling church from January through March.

In late March, Taylor and I took Susannah on her first trans-Atlantic trip (outside of the womb at least) and headed back to Edinburgh for Taylor's dissertation defense and then Oxford for a short holiday.

He passed his oral defense (don't miss that book he wrote in his right hand - I'm so proud)!!

And then, a dream realized - Robin's first trip to Oxford!

Outside the Inklings favorite haunt, the "Bird and Baby"

Inside the oldest (and possibly the smallest!) pub in Oxford, The Bear

When we got back to the US, we kicked off our first official Sojourn Galleria parish!

We finished up the school year and bought our first house this summer!!!!!

Our amazing core team helped us paint this hot mess!

We stayed home this summer as we re-plumbed, painted, slightly remodeled, unpacked, and moved in - praise the Lord!

We got in a quick family holiday to the Hyatt Hill Country Resort before school started where Seth exclaimed, "this is the best day of my entire life" during our trip. I asked Avery if it was hers, and she looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Disney World" period. :) I have no pictures - can anyone say, New Year's resolution?!

The school year began with a new school for Seth.  He played soccer, learned to read, and is in the same class as his best friend and cousin, Caroline.  Avery is at the same preschool as last year and is "president of her class" according to the director. :)

On October 11th, Sojourn Galleria "soft" launched (started bi-monthly services without advertising so that we could work out the kinks) while Sojourn Heights and Sojourn Montrose celebrated their 5th and 2nd year anniversaries respectively! We're so thankful to be a part of the Sojourn Collective and for all of the Houston churches that support us with prayer, people, and finances.

In November we celebrated Thanksgiving with both sides of our families - needless to say we were full (both with food and gratitude)!

And again, in December, we celebrated Christmas with each of our families.  What a blessing to get to spend Christmas with all of our parents, siblings and nieces and nephews! In the car driving to my parents house, I was overwhelmed with what the Lord has done over the past year.  He's been so faithful to call us to a specific place, and we're so grateful that it is Houston where we get to see most of our family on a regular basis.

Christmas Eve with the Ince side

Christmas Day at our house

Christmas Day Eve with the Kellam side

This weekend marks the first big event of 2016: Sojourn Galleria officially launches this Sunday!  We'd love for you to join us in worshipping the King of Kings!

Happy New Year!